There is no single thesis to this book, and therefore no single or simpleconclusion. The intention has been to present the interested reader with basic information, not only about the barbarians themselves, but also about the academic debates surrounding almost every aspect of their existence. Many of these debates have so far been inconclusive, and perhaps will remain so. I frequently encounter history students who find it disconcerting that there is so much uncertainty about our knowledge of the late antique or early medieval world; sometimes they retreat to the apparent security of nineteenth-or twentieth-century history, where historians are so overwhelmed by the quantity of their evidence that (it seems to me) they seldom worry enough about its quality, or sufficiently acknowledge the uncertainty that exists everywhere in the historical project. Those of us working in late antiquity or the early Middle Ages are perhaps more used to thinking of our task as asking questions, just as much as finding answers.